But Hysén isn't one for introspection.
Here is what he said to the Swedish football magazine Offside: "I am a footballer. And gay. If I perform as a footballer, then I do not think it matters if I like girls or boys . . . people may call me anything they want, it will just make me even more psyched."
Perhaps he has his father -- the former Liverpool defender Glenn Hysén -- to thank for his positive, robust approach. Hysén senior became known not just for his sensational tackles but for his refusal to take the press seriously. He would answer all questions with the word "sex".
Twenty years later his son, who plays for Sweden's second division Utsiktens BK, has caught the media off guard, refusing to conform to football's heterosexual diktats.
When we sit down, three days after our phone conversation, for his first newspaper interview, I ask him when he realised he was gay.
"I think I've known for a very long time," he replies, "but I didn't start thinking about it properly until I was 18 because I was dating girls. I guess I just wanted to be like everyone else, but I knew I was attracted to men, so I had to face it. There's nothing to it really."
Growing up, did the other boys at his football academy suspect? "People thought I was a bit on that side. In the showers they would say, 'Don't drop the soap, Anton's here'. I'm like 'whatever'. If you want to do a homo joke I don't care because I do it myself."
I look for signs of incongruence, of any distress in his facial expressions, and find none. He simply laughs, shrugs and looks around the sparse room in his father's Gothenburg house. Both ears are pierced with small black studs. He is casually dressed in a black sweater with a delicate chain round his neck.
Strangely, his accent is neither Swedish nor Liverpudlian, where he spent his early years, but American -- he went to college in North Carolina.
Hysén came out to his friends and family soon after he realised himself. "My dad was really nice. He said, 'You can do whatever you want, you can become a ballerina, I'll always support you'. My brothers were the same." (Tobias, 29, and Alexander, 23, are also footballers, playing for IFK Göteborg and GIF Sundsvall respectively.)
This might surprise some Swedes. Ten years ago his father Glenn Hysén, 51, attacked a man who tried to grope him in a public toilet. By the time the incident reached the newspapers, the insinuation -- strenuously denied by Glenn Hysén -- was that it was a homophobic attack.
"It got twisted," says Hysén junior. "If you touch me down there when you don't have permission I would hit you too."
Why did he decide to come out publicly? "I want to show everyone that it's not a big deal. It shouldn't matter who you are. Some players dropped out of their careers because they were afraid of the reaction of the fans." He says he doesn't know of any other gay players, although he has heard rumours.
And why come out now? "My dad sent me a message telling me he wanted to do an article about it and I said, 'I have nothing to hide. Let's do it'."
What followed was the kind of pep talk not usually heard in sporting families. "Dad said, 'A lot of people in this world are going to be really proud of you. You're doing a great thing, not just for football, or for gay people, but for the whole community'."
The prospect of a negative reaction from fans and the public didn't deter him. "Why would I care?" he says, pulling a face of bored annoyance. "You can call me 'gay', 'fag' -- I don't care. I have my family and friends' support. Other than that I don't care."
It is still early days, but he claims the reaction has been largely supportive. "There have been some negative (comments). People start thinking you just want the attention of the media. I don't read much of it, though."
This is undoubtedly wise: after our interview, the Swedish channel TV4 removes its article about him from its website because of the volume of hate-filled comments.
How would he deal with homophobic abuse? "I would say, 'Good for you -- you're immature and unsure of yourself'." Two days after coming out Hysén played a local friendly match, but with so few spectators he can't yet judge how the crowd will respond. "But my team-mates were like, 'Let's go, let's win the game', the same way they always do."
The rivals of his brothers' teams, he says, have already made up chants, however. For the first time Hysén fidgets and looks uncomfortable: "They're about everyone in the city doing to me the stuff that gay people do when they're having intercourse."
Hysén says that he has never been attracted to any fellow players, but when I ask about boyfriends, football is the sticking point. "I've never had a relationship," he says. "This is the main problem: no one (gay) knows about football and no one is even interested in football!"
He shrieks these last few words with the disgust one might reserve for describing a hate crime.
His club has proved supportive, reassuring him that they will suspend players who make abusive comments.
Given his experiences, why does he think other gay players stay in the closet? "It's different if you're in the Premier League," he says. "The press will be much bigger. And if you don't have the support of your family . . .
"It will be easier for me but it won't be easy -- I don't think football has changed. But it's 2011, it's time to change."
For now he is still coming to terms with the huge international reaction: "It's crazy. I heard that Perez Hilton (the US celebrity blogger) wrote about me on his website! How the hell does he know about me?"
In time, I suggest, it will be more than just a media mushroom cloud: Hysén will have to come to terms with being an historical figure, the Buzz Aldrin of gay footballers. He looks stunned, humbled and stutters a few "ers" before composing himself.
"I've done something for everyone now, so I just hope we can all learn from this. It feels great."
- Patrick Strudwick